The classic bumblebee is one of the most commonly recognized insects in the world. Did you know that there over 250 species of this animal? It’s true, and all of them have their own unique defining characteristics that set them apart from one another. However, all bumblebees share many common traits, namely adherence to a social hierarchy. Unlike some animals, bumblebees are not individualistic. They tend to stick with members of their colony throughout their life time; a typical colony can contain up to a couple thousand bumblebees.
These animals are not aggressive, but will sting if provoked. Human contact usually occurs when people stray into the nesting areas of these creatures, or when the latter are engaged in foraging for food. The colony organization of bumblebees is like all others; each hive contains a sole queen whose purpose is to lay eggs that will hatch into larvae. The role of the worker bee is to protect the hive.
- These animals have a rather large thorax that is marked by black and yellow hairs. The colors alternate back and forth, which is what makes these bumblebees so easily distinguishable from others of their kind.
- Bumblebees feed on nectar in pollen found in plants, which they use to feed their young.
- They form colonies like honeybees, although the structure is not nearly as complex.
- Once the nest has been formed, the queen bee will live in the hive for up to a year; a fully matured nest typically houses 40-50 bumblebees, although all colony members will die before the start of the winter season. This is when the fertilized queen will choose a safe haven underground to lay her eggs. Every spring, these eggs hatch into larvae and the colony cycle restarts.
- Bumblebees forage for food in the daytime and store honey (although to a much less extent than honeybees) in their hives.